Heathrow Trials & Aircraft Noise

Give us a wave!

Give us a wave!

Mucho upsettedness among many residents of south west London about trials being conducted by Heathrow airport on its easterly departure routes. Yep, them’s the ones when the planes bank round over Twickenham, Strawberry Hill and Teddington after take off, i.e. the ones that rattle your windows and have you reaching for the volume button on the remote control. The trial is officially called “Easterly departure trial 2″. It began on 28th July and runs through to 15th January 2015.

The purpose? According to Heathrow one objective is to “test the use of performance based navigation”.  This involves using new navigation technology to allow aircraft to follow routes more precisely and so place less reliance on air traffic controllers. The second objective of the trial is to test different departure routes “with the ultimate aim of reducing separation on departures”. Nope, we don’t know either. Something about reducing delays on departure and holding times on the ground, according to the airport blurb. Sounds a bit like facilitating more flights too maybe, doesn’t it. Perhaps it’s even also about testing scenarios linked to that third runway thingy.

The new routes being tested are similar to the current paths but some folk, especially those in sunny Teddington seem to have been experiencing lot more noise from a slight but very noticeable westward shift to some of the flight corridors. And of course, following routes more precisely can lead to more concentrated noise in certain areas.

But is there more noise over Twickenham? The planes certainly seem to have been very prevalent and very loud over central and western ‘Nam in recent weeks. Proof of evil intent by Heathrow? Not necessarily. The wind direction plays a key factor in determining the direction of take off and the airport has been running with its ‘easterly operations’ quite a bit recently as a result of the weather conditions so good luck in trying to unpick any impact of the trials compared to Heathrow’s normal operating procedures. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t comment or complain about noise and night flights if you experience  disruption or think things have changed as a result of the trials.

The mighty Teddington Town website has a lot of detail on the trials, complete with maps and all, which will give you a better understanding of what’s going on. And blimey O’Riley, they’ve even got a petition up and running to ask for the trials to be stopped. A good point well made is that many locals don’t feel they were sufficiently well informed about the trials and that this has made ‘before and after’ comparisons more difficult.  There’s also a fear that this could lead to the new routes being made permanent.  Needless to say, Heathrow say that they did contact local authorities, campaign groups and residents about the tests.

There’s plenty of discussion about it on Twitter (including the newly coined hashtag #planeintheass), but what’s your view? You’re saying you  didn’t quite hear that? WE SAID… WHAT’S… YOUR…. VIEW… ABOUT… PLANE… NOISE?

Vapour trails, Twickenham

Vapour trails, Twickenham   (not caused by take offs, obviously)


* Teddington Town

* Change.org petition to halt trials

* LBRuT Heathrow page

* Heathrow airspace modernisation trials


Filed under Local Issues & News

Gloriana Boathouse Plan Dropped

Gloriana at Twickenham in 2012

Gloriana at Twickenham in 2012

 The idea to build a boathouse and dock for royal barge Gloriana at Orleans Gardens in Twickenham has been shelved by Richmond Council. In a press release on Friday 12th, El Brute said that although the results had not been fully analysed, “It is clear a substantial majority of respondents were opposed to Gloriana’s permanent home at this site. It has therefore been agreed between the Council and the Gloriana trustees not to proceed any further with this project”.

Here at twickerati we regard this as the right decision although it did take El Brute rather a long time to get there. Nice boat, sure, but Orleans Gardens was not an appropriate location for such a large construction. There was a very active and vocal campaign against the proposal led by the team at Save Orleans Riverside. As part of their work they secured 4,500 signatures for their petition opposing the plan and, as you know, our own poll (with over 1,600 votes cast) showed over 70% against with just 13% in favour. It seems that the Council did listen to the people, eventually. It will be interesting to see whether now, after their long silence, Twickenham’s Councillors will be willing to voice their own opinions on the matter.

Lord True, who had championed the scheme from day 1, in fact from about two years before day 1 as it turned out, said, “Gloriana deserves to – and I am sure will – find a home where she is welcome and can be cherished for what she is, a working vessel serving charitable causes, a triumph of Borough craftsmanship, a future part of our national heritage and a tangible monument in centuries to come to the Diamond Jubilee of a great Queen. We wish her well”. Indeed. And many who opposed the plans to build at Orleans Gardens would agree… although most would probably not use all of those words.

So there we have it. Gloriana will be housed elsewhere, Orleans Gardens will not be built on, and we will all still get to see her pottering up and down the river doing whatever she does.

Happy Campaigners at Orleans Gardens

Happy Campaigners at Orleans Gardens

A victory for people power and common sense? Or a case of nimbys scuttling Lords True and Sterling’s grand and wonderful vision? Or indeed both? Have your say.

* There was a good turn out of the delighted ‘no thanks’ brigade at Orleans Gardens on Saturday morning and Twickenham MP Vince Cable even put in an appearance. He told this site that the decision was “a victory for common sense” and paid tribute to the work of the “passionate and well organised local opposition campaign”.

* Kingston has now expressed an interest in providing a home for Gloriana. With Brentford still in the running it will be interesting to see what the final plan looks like and how it compares to the Lords’ original scheme.

*  The results of the consultation are now on the El Brute website. To sum it up in just two words: oh dear. There were over 3,000 responses to the consultation, most of them made to the online survey. 93% of the responses were from local residents, as opposed to non-locals or interest groups. A large minority of respondents felt that it was important for Gloriana to have a proper home somewhere but a whopping 76% felt that Orleans Gardens was not an appropriate location. Sounds very much like our poll doesn’t it? That being the poll that we put online at no cost to your good selves. Anyway… when given the opportunity to add comments rather than just click on the survey options, 43% of those who added comments objected to the location with 24% opposing other aspects of the site layout and design. The report gives a selection of comments which capture the essence of the objections – location, impact on traffic, impact on the environment, inappropriate use of public money, the need to protect open spaces, etc. It does also includes a smattering of examples of the positive responses but it’s very clear from a skim through that a great many local people were opposed to the plan to build at Orleans Gardens. I think we knew that didn’t we? And what of the silent majority that certain Councillors had implied was out there? Well they obviously chose to remain silent, or maybe they simply didn’t exist at all.



* LBRuT Press Release
* Save Orleans Riverside
* LBRuT Consultation results


Filed under Council, Gloriana boathouse, Local Issues & News

Twickenham Theatre’s Sweeney Todd

twickenham theatreYou will recall that a while ago we told you about the launch of Twickenham Theatre? You don’t? Well, we did. Anyway, its first production is now underway. It’s a version of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd. Remember Sweeney Todd? Demon barber? Dab hand with a cut throat razor? Liked a pie? That’s him. The production is billed as a ‘musical thriller’ laced with wit and dark humour. It stars David Bedella and Sarah Ingram and runs until 4th October. And where is Twickenham Theatre you might well be asking. It’s at 68 London Road above the London Road Bar, that’s where.

So, are you going? Or have you gone? Give us your thoughts or reviews here.

* Twickenham Theatre


Filed under High Street Updates, What's on

Booze Bonanza for Twickenham Types

Booze? Here in Twickenham? Yes, dear readers we can now confirm that that does indeed seem to be the case. In fact, such is the town’s commitment to the cause and such is this site’s commitment to the town, that we’re bringing you news of three booze related events coming up. All take place on the same day so you can take your pick.

10 Years of Twickenham Fine Ales

10 Years of Twickenham Fine Ales

First up, we salute Twickenham Fine Ales, London’s oldest micro-brewery. The company celebrates ten years of brewing with a 10th Anniversary Party on Saturday 13th September at its Mereway Road brewery. It was founded in 2004 by Steve Brown and has gone from strength to strength, picking up fans and plaudits and moving to larger premises along the way. Sundancer, Grandstand, Naked Ladies; if you haven’t tried them you’re missing out. Twickenham Fine Ales can now be found not just in pubs in the local area and more widely across London, but you can also now buy it in bottles and direct from the brewery. Saturday’s anniversary party will see up to 10 Twickenham ales on offer, hot food, live music and the chance for a good old nose around the brewery. We say, Happy Anniversary guys. Tickets cost £10 and include 3 pints.


Last Try Wines - Wine & Food Festival

Last Try Wines – Wine & Food Festival

Secondly, and also on Saturday 13th, we draw your attention to the Wine and Food Festival which is being hosted by Last Try Wines at the Cabbage Patch pub on London Road. It runs from 1.00pm to 6.30pm and tickets cost £7 each (with offers on group purchases and for loyalty card holders). What to expect? Wine, wine tasting, learning about wine from suppliers, sampling interesting foods, wine, sampling interesting beers, more food. More wine.

And, as mentioned in the comments below, The Sussex Arms is hosting a Cider-Fest on Saturday. It runs from 1.00pm to 9.00pm with live music from 3.00pm. There will be a hog roast and, of course, a load of different ciders.

So there you have it, three dynamic local businesses putting on something a little bit different to bring better booze to the good burghers of Twickenham. Sounds alright, doesn’t it?

Twickenham Fine Ales Brewery

The Twickenham Fine Ales Brewery

* Twickenham Fine Ales
* Last Try Wines
* The Sussex Arms on Facebook


Filed under Food & Drink, What's on

Boris Island Rebuffed

Some sky (where planes go)

Some sky (for planes)

And in other news this week, Boris Johnson’s vision of a brand spanking new hub airport in the Thames Estuary got put out to pasture by the Airports Commission. Top commission bod, Sir Howard Davies seemed to think it was all a bit of an Eton Mess and decreed it “not the right answer” to the connectivity needs of London and the rest of the UK. In fact he expressed “serious doubts about the delivery and operation” of the plan. This means that we’re now down to a straight fight between Heathrow and Gatwick for handling extra capacity. Or are we, especially as Boris has said he doesn’t regard the estuary hub plan as finished yet. Err, yes we are. In other words, get ready for the approval of a third runway at Heathrow in the near future.

The Airports Commission is not going to issue its final report until after the 2015 election but you can expect the lobbying, arguments and counter-arguments to continue right up until then. And beyond.

And on that very subject, Heathrow Airport are running their own consultation at the moment. The purpose? To help shape Heathrow’s “proposals for property and noise compensation” if/when their third runway gets approved. They are even holding sessions in Richmond (Oct 8th) and Twickenham (Oct 9th). It’s your chance to tick a box on a form. Enjoy.

* BBC News
* Previously on twickerati – Heathrow Consultation… Again


Filed under Local Issues & News

School Sixth Forms Return to Twickenham

Crane & new building at Orleans Park School

Crane & building work at Orleans Park School

And so another school year begins. Same old, same old? Well, not quite. This September sees the arrival of sixth forms at local secondary schools. Did we say ‘arrival’, we actually meant return after a very long absence. It’s a move that has been welcomed by many residents although it’s not without its critics either, mainly over the cost. For the last 30 plus years, the provision of state sixth form education in Richmond boiled down to a choice of one establishment, Richmond College here in sunny ol’ Twickenham. Does a choice of one option really constitute a choice? We’re not sure. Either way, things have changed. Twickenham Academy took its first sixth form pupils in 2012 and now Waldegrave and Orleans Park follow suit. The Council’s new “post 16 partnership” comprises eight secondary schools in LBRuT, including Twickenham Academy, Waldegrave and Orleans Park, plus Richmond upon Thames College and even Richmond Adult Community College (yes, they do offer some courses for younger students). The range of options offered by this initiative is likely to have an impact on numbers signing up for A Levels at Richmond College and it also might prompt a reduction in the number of local kids defecting to Strode’s or Esher Colleges for their post-16 education.

All the necessary building work is not yet complete – perhaps that could become a case study for any ‘A’ Level Business Studies students out there – but September’s intake will be topping up their ink wells and breaking out fresh nibs regardless. Not all the schools are offering the same courses and there’s a document online to help prospective students navigate their way around the options for future admissions.

Meanwhile, plans for the new education campus on Richmond College’s Egerton Road site took a bit of a twist back in July when Haymarket Media announced that it would no longer be moving all of its operations from Teddington to the Twickenham site but would only be moving 20 around staff to support the new ‘tech hub’ on the campus. The company are said to be seeking a new base for their HQ elsewhere in the borough. The decision is a significant scaling back of the original plan but also serves to allay some local concerns about the scale of the whole development. According to an El Brute spokesman Haymarket’s decision would not affect the funding of the scheme nor its timetable. Work is due to begin in summer 2015.

Education, education, education. Have El Brute got this sixth form thing right? Marks out of ten, please?

* Richmond “Post 16 Partnership”
* REEC (the thing involving Haymarket at Richmond College site)
* Haymarket holds fire on move (from R&TT)


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

Super September’s Station Shutdowns

A station. In Twickenham

A station. In Twickenham

It’s happening. The building work at Twickenham station has really begun. There are bits of scaffolding, a new bridge, assorted hoardings, men at work and the demolition of Puccino’s cafe and the toilets on platform 4. Despite the toilets being out of action we presume drunken men are still free to continue using the nearby stairway from London Road down to Mary’s Terrace as an alternative toilet facility.

So far the disruption to rails services has been relatively small although residents in the immediate vicinity might feel that they’ve had their share of noise already. The project covers a number of improvements in the run up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup although, as you know, the “big station build” is not now going to happen until some time after England Captain Chris Robshaw lifts the Web Ellis Cup at Twickenham Stadium next October. The work is being partly funded by a grant of £1.6m from Boris’s budget. Nice one. But as we’ve said before and we’ll say again, it’s always been a bit of a mystery as to why the overarching Solum Regeneration development plan was not able to stump up enough dosh to fund all the basic station improvements required. Funny dat.

Anywayyyy… the work includes new footbridges (one between the platforms and one over the whole line) and platform resurfacing. The impact? Well, before we’re ready to enjoy a whole new and improved ‘rail customer’ experience the station needs to be closed for several days. This is going to happen over assorted weekends and all lines through Twickenham will be closed all day. Expect disruption, cranes, scaffolding, more men in orange suits and plenty of noise during those periods.

The affected days/weekends are:
13th / 14th September
20th / 21st September
Sun 28th September
Sun 9th November (morning)

We’re not being pessimistic, just realistic, when we say to you, “Check travel websites the morning after the closures in case it all overruns”. If you want to find out more about the work (but not that elusive “big build”) then there’s a public meeting hosted by El Brute and Network Rail at the Brunel Room of the RFU on Wednesday 10th September between 7.30pm and 9.00pm.

During the closures there’ll be mucho mucho changes to timetables with buses replacing trains in the Twickenham area. And when it comes to getting that crucial replacement bus service, just make sure you’re better prepared for it than Messrs Jackson and Attenborough. Good Luck!


* South West Trains Engineering Works
* El Brute Twickenham Station page

Orange man, Twickenham

Mr Orange, Twickenham


Filed under Council, Station Development, Twickenham Action Plan

Roads Closed for TWAP Work

How are you getting on with them there road closures then? And what about that narrow cycle contraflow in Holly Rood too, eh? According to El Brute’s timetable, we’re about half way through the work to re-vamp the London Road / King Street / York Street junction. Despite it being holiday season there have been some pretty impressive tailbacks in the town centre recently but, let’s face it, it’s hard to re-build a road junction without disrupting traffic. Work is supposed to end on 25th August. Or rather, this current piece of work is due to end by the 25th. It’s a TWAP thing, and it’s because we’re worth it.

Road closed, Twickenham

Road closed, Twickenham

* El Brute press release


Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Pix of the Week, Twickenham Action Plan

Pic of the Week: Where’s This Then?

It’s the summer silly season and things just would not be complete without a fatuous test of your Twickenham knowledge. It’s really very simple. Where is this tile? Or rather where are these tiles? There are a few of them. They’re not hidden away, they’re perfectly visible from the street. So where are they? Where is our gallant knight Sir Gareth?

A tile... in Twickenham

A tile… in Twickenham

We’ll give you the answer… soon.

In fact we’ll do it now… it is indeed part of a series of tiles between the shops on London Road, The Munch Box, Ke Suushi, the new Bonjour dry cleaners etc.



Filed under Pix of the Week, Random Stuff